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The Language of Natural Hair

Posted on March 10 2015

The natural hair community has it's own lingo. A secret code that allows curly girls to talk among themselves. A specific set of acronyms and words that add to the culture of natural hair. The language is so new that many stylists are unfamiliar with the terms.  Since you're one of us (a member of the curly girls club) we want to make sure you're up on all of the natural hair lingo. 

Co-wash - Washing your with conditioner only, no shampoo
DC - Deep Condition
Dusting - Trimming such a small amount of hair it looks like dust on the floor
3a/b/c - Hair classification system chracterized by curly hair
4a/b/c - Hair classification system that represent kinky coarse hair
Banding - A technique used to stretch hair without heat that consists of applying bands to sections of hair
EO - Essential Oils - Essential Oils are oils that are used to treat & repair hair issues
EVCO - Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
EVOO - Extra Virgin Olive Oil
No-poo - A hair regimen that eliminates the use of shampoo
Pre-poo - Applying oil to hair before shampooing to retain moisture & aid in detangling.
Regimen - A process used to maintain your hair includes products and techniques
Seal - Process used to seal moisture into the hair
Slip - The feeling of hair after conditioner is applied.
TWA - Teeny Weeny Afro
Transitioning - Making the shift from relaxed hair to natural hair by gradually cutting off relaxed hair.
Twist-Out - Process of twisting hair to manipulate and lock in a curl pattern
WNG - Wash and Go - Process of washing hair, applying product and allowing it to dry naturally.
BSL - Bra strap length
CG - Curly Girl Method - The Curly Girl (CG) Method involves little to no use of shampoo, co-washing, avoiding silicones, and finger detangling.
Detangle - Process used to remove tangles, knots from hair
EL - Ear Length
CL - Chin Length
NL - Neck Length
SL - Shoulder Length
MBL - Mid Back Length
HL - Hip Length
WL - Waist Length
Shrinkage - When curly hair draws up during the drying process and appears shorter than it actually is
Heat Damage - Damage to hair caused by heat that prevents the hair from reverting to it naturally curly state.
HG - Holy Grail is a combination of products that work well for your hair
Leave-In Conditioner is a conditioner that is not washed out and used to add moisture to hair
Natural Hair - Hair that is free from chemicals that permanently alter the texture of hair.
PJ - Product Junkie
Protective Style - A low manipulation style that protects hair from dryness & breakage.
Stretching - A technique used to prevent hair from shrinking when drying.
Braid Out - Braiding hair to manipulate and lock in a wavy pattern
BSS - Beauty Supply Store
Flat Twist - Twist technique that makes the twists lie flat to the scalp
Cornrows - Braid technique that makes the braids lie flat to the scalp
JBCO - Jamaican Black Castor Oil
SSK - Single Strand Knots aka Fairy Knots
Search and Destroy - Searching and cutting out single strand knots and split ends
2nd-, 3rd-, 4th- day hair - The number of days since you last styled hair.
Alopecia - Loss of hair due to medical condition or from tension put on the hair, which is known as traction alopecia
Breakage - When part of the hair strand breaks and the root is left in tact
Carrier Oils are used to dilute essential oils and can be used alone to moisturize hair
Coils - A technique used to style hair that is achieved by twirling the hair with fingers or a rattail comb.
Demarcation line is where natural hair and relaxed hair meet.
Cuticle - Cells on hair that protect the inner layers of hair called the cortex and medulla.
Density - The number of hairs growing per square inch. Low density = thin hair / High density = medium to thick hair
Elasticity - Refers to the ability of hair to be pulled and returned to is normal curl without breaking
Porosity - A measure of how well hair absorbs moisture. There are 3 levels of porosity low, normal, & high.
High Porosity Hair - Absorbs & looses moisture quickly.
Low Porosity Hair - Cuticles do not allow moisture to easily absorb or release because they are closely compacted
Normal Porosity Hair - Allows moisture to absorb and pass through the cuticle as needed, but not in excess
Sebum - Oil released from body that protect the hair & travel down the hair strands.
Humectants - Draw moisture from the air into the hair shaft & should not be used in dry weather conditions.
Length Check - Stretching hair to measure and record the length of hair
Locs - Hairstyle that consists of rope like strands that coil and twist around itself.
Low manipulation - Doing very little to your hair to reduce breakage
Pineappling - A night time technique accomplished by gathering hair in a loose ponytail on top of the head to sleep.
Scab hair - Hair that grows after a big chop & is dry and wiry. Not a representation of true texture.
Sisterlocks - Small thin locs created using a patented tool
APL - Arm Pit Length
ACV - Apple Cider Vinegar
BAA - Big Ass Fro
BC - Big Chop
Bagging - Using a plastic cap to condition & retain moisture
Big Chop - Cutting of all relaxed/damaged hair or cutting your natural hair to a short style
Cones - Short for silicones an ingredient found in some hair products that can cause build up on the hair strands

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